Six say they’ll fight murder charge

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Durban - Six people accused of murdering a money lender intend to plead not guilty, the Durban Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.

In their affidavits read into the record by their respective attorneys the six said they had no knowledge of the crime.

Attorney Jayshree Baijnath, 39, businesswoman Shana Mangroo, 44, Dhanaseelan “Deven” Manickam, 43, businessman Rajendran Chetty, 44, advocate Veronica Rathilal, 44, and panelbeater Logandren Francis, 27, are all charged with murder.

A seventh accused, Claude Reginald, did not appear as he was in Durban's Chatsmed Hospital.

Their arrest followed the conviction earlier this month of Gregory Pillay who was sentenced to 18 years for the murder of Narend Anendrai after pleading guilty.

Anendrai was shot dead in Chatsworth on March 18 in his Mercedes Benz by Pillay, who claimed that he had been paid R20 000 for the hit, although he had been promised R120 000.

The Daily News reported earlier this week that Pillay had testified that Manickam had given him the weapon he used.

Prosecutor Nadira Moosa said the State was not opposing bail, but insisted that five of the six who appeared on Friday morning pay bail of R50 000 while Francis pay bail of R10 000.

Reading their respective client's affidavit, the lawyers said their clients could afford R10 000 while Francis's lawyer Siven Samuel said his client could afford only R5 000.

Moosa said going by the strength of the legal teams present in court the bail amounts requested by the six accused were “meagre”.

Baijnath said in her affidavit: “I am not guilty of the charge and intend pleading accordingly.”

She said she knew Anendrai for 10 years and was a good friend. She said she had handled a number of cases for him.

All of the accused had no criminal record, with the exception of Chetty, who was convicted of assault in 1999.

Mangroo said: “I fail to understand how I can be charged with murder.”

Magistrate John Moore said he would make his decision regarding bail after lunch on Friday.

Sapa


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